Sherry continues to attempt to muscle onto American wine menus but it’s having more success in cocktails, where it can stand in for spirits to create a lighter, less boozy cocktail. Here’s a look at two very different sherries from major producer Gonzalez Byass, and a cocktail idea on how to use one of them.
Gonzalez Byass Leonor Palo Cortado Palomino 12 Years Old – 100% palomino grapes, which comprise some 95 percent of the Jerez growing area. The color of strong tea. Nutty on the nose, with leather and notes of roasted vegetables. The palate is extremely dry, leathery again, with ample notes of dried savory spices — thyme and some sage — before moving to a very drying, almost bitter finish that echoes notes of old, wet wood, mushroom, and furniture polish. B / $21
Gonzalez Byass Nectar Pedro Ximenez Dulce – 100% Pedro Ximenez grapes. As the name implies, this is a sweet (very sweet) style of sherry. Much darker in color, close to coffee. The palate is fueled with notes of sweet dates, plump raisins, and figs. Some cola notes bubble up on the back end, but the sweetness is quite enduring, almost overwhelming at times. Sip in moderation (and slightly chilled), or mix liberally. B / $15
How about a sherry cocktail?
5 oz Leonor Palo Cortado sherry
5 oz Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
2 dashes Angostura orange bitters
Serve on the rocks.